1. Joined
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    07 Dec '14 16:39
    Everything that appears to be designed has a designer.
    The universe appears to have been designed.
    Therefore, the universe has a designer.


    This is essentially the argument from design (as I've understood it), and it is a rock-solid argument if the premises are true. So, are they?

    We'll assume that by "designer" we mean an intelligent being capable of forming matter in ways that the matter cannot form itself (even if under the influence of some mechanical laws), and "appearance of design" to be these forms. We can call these forms properties. If we manage to clearly define these properties (which is work yet ahead of us), then premise 1 is true. Otherwise we can always question whether it's true that a designer must be responsible for any appearance of design, destroying the argument.

    But these properties must also be defined so that they fit the object in premise 2. We're essentially using an analogy, where we compare an object for which we don't initially know there is a designer, with objects we do know have a designer. But the latter objects exist within the first object, as do their designers. In reality, we have no idea under what circumstances the universe itself exists. If the universe exists in a space-time much like the space-time within the universe, then yes, we can directly compare the universe with objects within the universe, but that leads to infinite regress. What environment does the universe that holds the universe exist in? And what environment does the universe that holds the universe that holds our universe exist in? (Also, I would think we should be able to detect at least one universe within our own, if this babushka doll structure was a fact.) Sooner or later you're going to have to posit a very different environment from what we find inside the universe, and at that point the analogy breaks down. For what is true for objects in one environment, is not necessarily (almost certainly not) true for objects in a different environment. In this case it's even more true, since forming existing matter into designed objects within the universe is very different from creating the universe itself.

    So, the argument fails because of its premises.

    Premise 1: Everything that appears to be designed has a designer.

    This is only true if we can identify properties of design that requires a designer, and can confirm that all objects that appears to be designed has these properties.

    Premise 2: The universe appears to have been designed.

    If the universe appears to have been designed from our perspective, it is only because we're comparing its inside with objects on its inside. We have no idea what reality the universe itself exists in, so we have no idea if the properties we define in premise 1 holds true for the universe as well. But Christian theology assumes that what exists outside the universe is a nothingness with an uncaused, timeless, immaterial, powerful and intelligent mind in it. This is a very different environment from the one inside the universe, so if this is true, we cannot use the design argument to demonstrate the existence of said being by implying this universe must have been designed as designed objects in it are designed. We would need an entirely different standard of design that applies equally well to both environments.

    Conclusion: Therefore, the universe may possibly, maybe, perhaps have a designer, or not.

    That's the proper conclusion for now, me thinks. 😏
  2. Joined
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    07 Dec '14 16:46
    Originally posted by C Hess
    Everything that appears to be designed has a designer.
    The universe appears to have been designed.
    Therefore, the universe has a designer.


    This is essentially the argument from design (as I've understood it), and it is a rock-solid argument if the premises are true. So, are they?

    We'll assume that by "designer" we mean an intelligent being capa ...[text shortened]... ybe, perhaps have a designer, or not.[/i]

    That's the proper conclusion for now, me thinks. 😏
    "Appears" meaning what? Looks like? Feels like? Sounds like?

    I'm not poking fun at your post.
  3. Joined
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    07 Dec '14 17:00
    Originally posted by josephw
    "Appears" meaning what? Looks like? Feels like? Sounds like?

    I'm not poking fun at your post.
    That's exactly the problem I'm presenting for premise 1. I've never been told what makes an object appear to be designed. But thinking about the problem, I can only conclude that for something to appear designed such that it must have a designer, there should be properties about the object that cannot be produced through a mindless, mechanical process. What those properties are I have yet to hear.

    I should add that I'm serious about this thread. If you (or anyone else) can present a convincing case that such properties exist, allowing us to determine that premise 1 and 2 is true, then I would also be forced to accept the conclusion, that the universe indeed has a designer. I'm not just trying to trash people's beliefs. I have long since determined YEC to be a failed position, but I'm curious about creationism that accepts observed reality.
  4. Standard memberAgerg
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    07 Dec '14 17:273 edits
    A different reason why I reject both premises 1 and 2 ...
    For premise 1, when my dog takes a dump, it undoubtedly takes on some shape or other, and if someone in the world found beauty in things that take that particular shape (especially if it is spiral shaped) they might be compelled to assert my dog's droppings look designed! Should we then conclude that necessarily it's droppings were specifically, and artfully crafted in such way it would take on the appearance that it does by some dog turd designer!??
    "Looks designed" is essentially a subjective term, and what looks designed to one, may look haphazard to another.

    As for premise 2, apart from abiding by some physical rules ... the universe, and the way it works looks pretty damned chaotic and asymmetrical to me, doesn't look "designed" at all.
  5. Cape Town
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    07 Dec '14 18:49
    Originally posted by C Hess
    Everything that appears to be designed has a designer.
    The universe appears to have been designed.
    Therefore, the universe has a designer.
    Its an obviously circular argument as stated. You need to at a minimum tone it down to 'most things that appear to be designed'.

    If I were to say:
    1. All red flowers have five petals.
    2. My flower is red.
    3. Therefore, my flower has five petals.
    Surely, in order to verify premise 1. you must first verify that my flower has 5 petals?
  6. Standard memberDasa
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    07 Dec '14 19:16
    Originally posted by C Hess
    Everything that appears to be designed has a designer.
    The universe appears to have been designed.
    Therefore, the universe has a designer.


    This is essentially the argument from design (as I've understood it), and it is a rock-solid argument if the premises are true. So, are they?

    We'll assume that by "designer" we mean an intelligent being capa ...[text shortened]... ybe, perhaps have a designer, or not.[/i]

    That's the proper conclusion for now, me thinks. 😏
    Why even propose an argument for and against design.

    A child can observe design.

    Design is all around us and within us.

    Where is their no design?

    Its everywhere.

    Atheists are always wasting their intelligence on trying to disappear the hand of God.

    Its impossible..............and its like trying to disappear energy.

    God is withing every atom.
  7. Cape Town
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    07 Dec '14 19:50
    Originally posted by Dasa
    Why even propose an argument for and against design.

    A child can observe design.
    Because we are not children, and we prefer to base our conclusions on something more solid than childish delusions.
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    07 Dec '14 20:59
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Its an obviously circular argument as stated. You need to at a minimum tone it down to 'most things that appear to be designed'.

    If I were to say:
    1. All red flowers have five petals.
    2. My flower is red.
    3. Therefore, my flower has five petals.
    Surely, in order to verify premise 1. you must first verify that my flower has 5 petals?
    No, that's not a circular argument. If indeed all red flowers have five petals, and your flower is red, then it follows that your flower has five petals. That's the simplest logic there is.

    Indeed, the first premise of the design argument above is poorly stated in that we have no definition for what "appearance of design" is, so we can't really determine if it's true that all objects that appears to be designed has a designer. Yet, when I listen to advocates of intelligent design, this is the essence of what they're saying. If it appears to be designed (whatever that means), it has a designer. So, while I wouldn't agree that the argument is circular, I absolutely agree that before "appearance of design" is properly defined as some properties of an object that we see in all objects we know to be designed, and yet lacking in all objects we know not to be designed, and which logically cannot appear in objects that are not designed; before we have a definition of "appearance of design" that makes a "designer" necessary, the first premise is gibberish - i.e. we can easily argue that there are lots of objects that appears to be designed, but that in fact has no designer.

    Following such a definition, for premise 2 to be true, the universe must also hold these properties that creates this "appearance of design" that demands a "designer".

    But should both premise 1 and 2 be demonstrated to be true, then it follows trivially that the universe had a designer.
  9. Joined
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    07 Dec '14 21:04
    Originally posted by Dasa
    Why even propose an argument for and against design.

    A child can observe design.

    Design is all around us and within us.

    Where is their no design?

    Its everywhere.

    Atheists are always wasting their intelligence on trying to disappear the hand of God.

    Its impossible..............and its like trying to disappear energy.

    God is withing every atom.
    What is design? If design is simply everything that is around us, then the word means literally nothing. While it's child's play to say absolutely nothing, it's hardly useful. What exactly is it about an object that would have you look at it and say: "That object is designed"? And what is it about an object that would have you say: "Not only is that object designed, but it was designed by an intelligence"?
  10. Joined
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    07 Dec '14 21:09
    Originally posted by Agerg
    A different reason why I reject both premises 1 and 2 ...
    For premise 1, when my dog takes a dump, it undoubtedly takes on some shape or other, and if someone in the world found beauty in things that take that particular shape (especially if it is spiral shaped) they might be compelled to assert my dog's droppings look designed! Should we then conclude that ...[text shortened]... way it works looks pretty damned chaotic and asymmetrical to me, doesn't look "designed" at all.
    You're absolutely right, as far as I can tell. But I'm currently more interested in what the opposition have to say, to see if there's something to their claim, that what appears to be designed has a designer. Can they properly define what "appearance of design" is, such that it requires a "designer", and can they demonstrate that this "appearance of design" applies to the universe itself?
  11. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    07 Dec '14 22:10
    Originally posted by Dasa
    Where is their no design?

    There in your grammar.
    It's random.
  12. Cape Town
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    08 Dec '14 06:17
    Originally posted by C Hess
    No, that's not a circular argument. If indeed all red flowers have five petals, and your flower is red, then it follows that your flower has five petals. That's the simplest logic there is.
    The argument is perfectly valid, if premise 1. is known to be true. I am saying is cannot be known to be true, unless and until the conclusion is known to be true. It is therefore a circular argument.

    Indeed, the first premise of the design argument above is poorly stated in that we have no definition for what "appearance of design" is, so we can't really determine if it's true that all objects that appears to be designed has a designer.
    Even if it were perfectly stated, we could not determine whether all objects that appear to be designed have a designer, unless we first determined that the universe had a designer (assuming it appears to be designed).
    It is a circular argument unless you can find a reason other than an evidential one for premise 1.
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    08 Dec '14 07:56
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    The argument is perfectly valid, if premise 1. is known to be true. I am saying is cannot be known to be true, unless and until the conclusion is known to be true. It is therefore a circular argument.

    [i]Indeed, the first premise of the design argument above is poorly stated in that we have no definition for what "appearance of design" is, so we can't ...[text shortened]... is a circular argument unless you can find a reason other than an evidential one for premise 1.
    I beg to differ. A circular argument would be one where the conclusion is in the premises. That clearly is not the case here. Even if we were able to determine (through some other means) that the universe has a designer, this design argument would still fail in its premises, as long as we don't have a clear definition of "appearance of design". But if we do have a clear definition:

    1) a trait found in all objects for which we know there is a designer,
    2) not found in any of the objects for which we know there is no designer,
    3) that logically can't be part of a non-designed object, and
    4) that also translates to the universe itself (see the OP)

    Then we can test the premises, to either confirm or reject the conclusion.

    Until such a definition exists, however, the premises are gibberish, and the whole argument falls.
  14. Cape Town
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    08 Dec '14 08:24
    Originally posted by C Hess
    I beg to differ. A circular argument would be one where the conclusion is in the premises.
    What if a premise is dependent on the conclusion?

    But if we do have a clear definition:

    1) a trait found in all objects for which we know there is a designer,
    2) not found in any of the objects for which we know there is no designer,
    3) that logically can't be part of a non-designed object, and
    4) that also translates to the universe itself (see the OP)

    Then we can test the premises, to either confirm or reject the conclusion.

    Until such a definition exists, however, the premises are gibberish, and the whole argument falls.

    1) is not required.
    2) is not required if 3) is valid.

    3) is the key to the whole argument, and generally totally absent when theists use this argument. They claim it is obvious or intuitively so (See Dasa), or based on observation. I am saying that the observational claim makes the argument circular.
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    08 Dec '14 14:231 edit
    Originally posted by C Hess
    Conclusion: Therefore, the universe may possibly, maybe, perhaps have a designer, or not.


    Concerning a teleological argument for theism -

    So one should we say one answer is more probable than the other, if not conclusively proved?
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